“The greatest wealth…is health” wrote Virgil many, many moons ago, but a saying just as true today as then. We all hope to maintain good health, but while you’re travelling and especially if you take medication or have an on-going condition, it’s not a bad idea to check out what medical facilities your destination has.
Fortunately for all of us, this area of Tuscany is well serviced, in as much that we have three major hospitals – in Siena, Perugia and Arezzo - all specialised in different fields. We also have a lot of eminent surgeons and doctors because Tuscany, as a place to live, is often a first choice for the medical elite.
At Cortona’s Fratta hospital there is an Emergency service (Pronto Soccorso) so anyone seriously hurt or sick will get immediate attention, with ambulances stationed there in order to take you to any of the three major hospitals. There’s even a helipad!
If you are on holiday and don’t know where to turn, the Pronto Soccorso is an option, but there is a grading system in place, so expect to wait if the condition is minor. Cortona’s pharmacy is a good place to ask for any non-serious medical issues; they speak English and will direct you to the right place if they can’t help you themselves.
If you are here for a longer period and require specialist advice for a new or on-going condition, the good news, is that going private in Italy, is affordable. There are a number of private institutions and surgeries one can choose from (see below).
Even some of the more common surgical procedures – hernias, torn meniscus, colonoscopies etc… - can be done privately without breaking the bank. What’s more, the specialists – often working privately within a hospital structure - have direct access to all medical equipment and will give you a full examination during the visit.
If you become resident, you will be required to pay into the national health service which automatically means you can choose a local general physician (GP). This works pretty well for repeat prescriptions, blood tests and minor ailments, but as with most national health services, there is a waiting list for specialist visits and treatment.
Within a 50 minute radius of Cortona, here are some private medical centres where you can see any number of specialists from dermatologists to cardiologists to endocrinologists and book yourself in for internal examinations, x-rays, MRIs, mammograms etc…
The following 3 private institutions have a very good reputation and are also used by many Cortonese residents for their affordable costs whether for a cardiologist or simply blood tests.
If anyone can add to this list, please email Alison at firstname.lastname@example.org